April 18, 2011

Almond Blossoms

  This is an oil pastel of almond blossoms on an almond tree, which is an interpretation of a painting by Vincent Van Gogh. I've always loved almond blossoms and been interested in the symbolism behind them in scripture. In the book of Exodus in the Old Testament there is a very detailed description of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The artist was a man named Bezalel and he was given vision and abilities in all kinds of artistic mediums to create the interior of the tabernacle. One of the most significant parts of the building was a large lampstand, resembling what we would now call a menorah. The only difference between the two is that the lampstand had seven candles and a menorah has eight. The instructions were "And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold." -Exodus 25:34-36. I'm not entirely sure why but I was curious about this when I read it. In scripture there are countless examples of God using symbols and objects to represent different things. Why almond blossoms? And on the single most important part of the tabernacle, which was the physical meeting place of God Himself, the lampstand was the representation of the light of God. Its importance cannot be overstated. So, I did a little looking into it and found that almond trees are the very first tree to blossom in the spring. Its flowers bud and bloom quite a bit before any others, regardless of the climate or region. They are also the very last to bare fruit. In the scriptures, God refers to Himself as "the Alpha Omega," meaning "the beginning and the end of all things." The almond blossoms are the living picture of Himself, and in even the smallest details of His instruction to Bezalel, He was revealing Himself. He is always revealing Himself, if we are willing to see Him.

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